One key to empowered business communications is to say what needs to be said and then stop! The more we say, the more we may confuse people. What does the audience need to hear? Surely not all of your personal history or the minutiae of your business.
Imagine that you are sitting in a networking meeting and a presenter stands up to explain their product or service. You follow their comments and all of a sudden you have an “I get it!” moment where you understand what they are offering, are excited and want to speak with the person. Then, they continue and as you try to follow their on-going comments, the “I get it!” fades into the sea of their words. At the end you are not sure what the presenter was really saying or selling. You leave the meeting never speaking with the presenter.
Remember, as a presenter, to stop talking the moment you hear yourself say things such as:
“You have to understand that …”
“First, let me give you the background of the company …”
“The history of this product is …”
You are about to lose your audience!
The question is, “As a presenter how do I avoid this problem?”
The second step is to limit what you are going to say to preferable one, maybe two, key messages about your product or service. Realize that if you get the listener’s attention with one key message you have succeeded and will be able to provide them more detailed information, later. If you lose their attention because they became confused, they will have no reason to speak with you.
Clear, brief and compelling
The third step is to make your messages clear, brief and compelling. This means no jargon. Jargon breaks rapport and leads to confusion. Brief, in this case, means a short sentence and an example related to the idea in that sentence. And compelling means that listeners think, “I want to know more about that.” or “How do they do that?” or …
You cannot speak more clearly than you think.
“What happened to the first step?”, you may ask. The first step is becoming clear and certain in your own mind about what you are trying to communicate. Many presenters are uncertain and so add words to their presentation to compensate for this uncertainty. If you are clear in your own mind then you will be clear with your audience. And, by the way, any uncertainty you may have gets reflected in your body language but more about that in a later blog.
Remember, clarity, brevity and compelling examples will get you much further than a thousand words.